"From its opening bass line, this collection from keyboardist and producer Mark Knox hits a sweet spot. The tunes have him foraging for melodies from Asia to the Caribbean even as a bright, funky groove comes and goes...
...Three tunes pay tribute to Japan. Knox really gets his kimono on with 'Hiroshima,' which has a fantasy quality to it along with a children's chorus. 'Evening Song' is a comely Vietnamese folk song that showcases Gerald Veasley's bass...while 'Salamanca,' a ville in western Spain, throbs with a heavy backbeat...
A bevy of Philly all-stars dig in, including Veasley, whom Knox has produced for many years, trumpeter John Swana, flautist Denis DiBlasio, vibraphonist Tony Miceli, and drummer Jim Miller. Soprano saxophonist Chris Farr gives some mystical zest to the bouncy 'Thayohur.'"
- Philadelphia Inquirer
"...a broad vision... At first hearing, Places appears focused on the relation of American music to the musics of east Asia. However, it goes farther than that, including Latin American clavé and African polyrhythms and feral calls. Knox creates most of the music, and certainly a majority of the moods through keyboard work, samples, vocals and programmed percussion. Still, a few of Knox’s Philadelphia-based musical associates, especially bassist Gerald Veasley, contribute to the cultural allusions of Knox’s soundscapes. The tracks that remain in the listener’s consciousness after the music has stopped are those within the 'Sanbusaku Nippon' suite that recall Knox’s first trip to Japan. For 'Hiroshima,' Knox recorded the Ngàn Khoi Children’s Chorus as well as the voice of Japanese lyricist Yoshiko Matsui. After its initial Tokyo subway sounds, 'And Tokyo Too' includes again Veasley’s throbbing bass lines and Farr’s swinging saxophone improvisation. The Vietnamese folk song, 'Evening Song,' features for a change Veasley’s lead on electric bass as Farr repeats Veasley’s melodic phrases until he too solos over Knox’s orchestral effects."
"The song titles on keyboardist Mark Knox's Places give you a good idea of what you're about to hear...it's naturally a musical travelogue on locations where Knox has visited and performed...
'Salamanca' and the title track rise to the top, rich groove-fusion tapestries of keys, vibes, trumpet and vocalese swirling around easy and memorable melodies. The Far East is obviously a special place for Knox. A three-song interlude on three Japanese cities captures his impressions...After the reverential and spiritual Japanese sounds of 'Kyoto' here - the fusion of 'And Tokyo Too' approximates the bustle of the huge metropolitan city.
Knox is a longtime producer and keyboardist for bassist Gerald Veasley, who performs here, as does another Veasley accompanist, percussionist Doc Gibbs..."